Skip to main content
The Basics: Common Skin Conditions in Kids

You are listening to Healthy Kids Zone:

The Basics: Common Skin Conditions in Kids

Apr 18, 2022

Young kids can have all sorts of skin issues as they grow up, and Dr. Cindy Gellner, MD, and pediatrician, has seen them all. Learn the basics of diaper irritation, dry skin, eczema, and rashes that you should know as a parent and how you can treat many of them at home.

Episode Transcript

Parents will often bring their kids in to see me for skin issues, and I also get a lot of phone calls about rashes. Well, the hard part is I can't see your child's rash over the phone. Rashes are one of those things that your pediatrician will need to see in person or through a video visit in order to determine what the cause of the rash is and what to do about it.

Babies and diaper rashes are one very common concern. Babies get diaper rashes very easily, even within days of being born, because their skin is super sensitive. In fact, their skin is not fully developed until about 6 months old, which is why we say no sunscreen or bug spray until then.

Babies are also in diapers and they pee and poop a lot. Diaper rashes are basically contact skin issues due to the diaper fibers and due to the normal body chemicals and bacteria in the urine and stool.

Some babies are okay with just having diaper rash cream put on their bums. Others get more like burns. We used to even make our own diaper rash cream for our older son. His skin was so sensitive we joked that he would get a diaper rash if we looked at him wrong. We ended up using burn cream mixed with zinc oxide for him.

Parents often ask which diaper cream I recommend. My answer? Whichever works for your baby. I don't have a personal preference, and some creams work better for some babies than others.

If the diaper rash is red and bumpy, though, that's a yeast diaper rash. It's more in the front of the diaper area and less on their bottoms. Any over-the-counter yeast cream can help with that.

Then there are dry skin issues. Every winter, I have parents bringing their children to me for an all-over body rash that can be itchy. That's often either just dry skin dermatitis or eczema. For both, start with a cream that says "dry sensitive skin." And you can try mixing a little over-the-counter hydrocortisone with it and apply it twice a day for a few days.

Some kids with really bad eczema end up needing prescription creams, and that's when a trip to your pediatrician is needed.

There are all sorts of rashes. Most are viral, some are bacteria, but for all other rashes, it's best to have your child seen so we can check it out and see what treatment is needed.

Viral rashes need no treatment. They'll go away on their own. Bacterial ones sometimes just need topical antibiotics, but sometimes need a prescription for oral antibiotics.

If you have a concern about your child's skin, go ahead and bring your child in to see their pediatrician. Chances are we've seen your child's rash before and are able to help.